Saraswatichandra Banner Contest Winner
Joined: 26 February 2008
I had this idea looming in my head for a long time now and decided to write it out. I have been working on it for about a month now. This will be my second FF and I will continue updating my first FF, "Tera Mera Rishta." Hope you guys enjoy it and please leave your frank comments…I will try to update both FF's periodically.
I have not copied this idea or concept from any other FF… If you find it similar to another, it may be a mere coincidence…
Please leave your honest opinions and I'm not posting a character sketch since you will see the characters develop in the story itself.
Thanks Irsa for the encouragement and sitting there listening to all I had to say about this FF.
They say that in order for you to feel complete in life, you need to have the support of a companion. A companion which understands your every emotions, gives you a lending hand, helps you out of depression, brings a smile on your face, supports you throughout your lifetime, and most importantly, loves you unconditionally. A lot of people are unable to recognize their true life partners while some few lucky ones are able to spot the love of their lives. But sometimes due to unexplainable circumstances in life, they lose out on their loves. This is the true in the case of Armaan Mallik. Will he ever be able to find a true companion ever again? Or is this the end? Will he ever again find himself in a drawn in a web of love?
Read Jeevan Saathi to find out!
He sat in his big, brown leathered swivel chair, facing the glass screen behind his desk, as he looked down at the cars roam by the Mumbai Interstate Highway from the elevated view in his office lost deep in thought. A whole year had gone by for him in pain and anguish as his mind continued to wander around in her thoughts. His hands made their way toward his desk as he picked up the photo frame with her picture on it and stared at it deeply whilst tears began to well up in his eyes, letting lose the emotions he had kept secure inside of him. The love of his life had departed from his life since a year now and somehow he still couldn't come to terms with the fact. It seemed like yesterday that they both were arguing with each other like little kids and he was pacifying her in his cute, teasing way upon seeing her irritated face.
"Excuse me Sir, Mr. Rahul has been trying to contact you continuously," said Ria, his secretary as she hesistantly made her way in his office after knocking on the door. "He said you weren't picking up your cell and told me to convey this message to you as he wanted to talk to you." She bowed her head down ready to face his wrath, as he had clearly instructed her that he didn't wish to be disturbed.
He nodded in approval of receiving the message. "You may leave," he spoke in a cold tone as he looked up from the picture and towards her with a firm look on his face as if he hadn't been crying at all.
Upon hearing the door shut, his closed his eyes sighing as he held the photograph close to his heart. During this one year, everything had changed for him drastically. He wasn't the same person who he used to be before all thanks to her influence and presence. The happy-go-lucky Armaan had vanished in thin air as his life left him alone in the world; instead a new cold-blooded and cruel Armaan took form. Her death had broken him down completely and he buried himself in his office work all day as an outlet to forget his pain and cope with the loss.
A fear took over the bodies of the office staff seeing the sudden change in Armaan during the past year. They tried to maintain their distance with him and talked to him only when necessary as they knew that the Armaan that used to laugh and make others laugh along with him disappeared somewhere with Anjali's death.
Anjali Grewal—each and every office member still held that graceful lady close to their hearts. She seemed to have changed the ambiance of the 'Mallik' office with her presence. She seemed to have casted a magic spell in the office and on the office staff. The entire staff was well-aware of how their love story had started.
As Armaan held the photo frame against his broad chest, his mind recalled that one day where both of them met for the very first time.
*Flashback Mode* 2 Years Back
"Hey Maya," said Armaan, winking at her as he leaned against the reception counter dressed in a crisp white shirt with black slacks while holding on to his briefcase. "How are you doing today sweety," he said flashing his killer smile.
The 40 year-old woman sitting behind the reception desk working on the computer turned her attention to the dashing fellow in front of her and returned his warm smile.
"Oh Armaan," she said as she jumped off her chair in joy and went to hug him. It was like this everyday. Armaan always made it a point to greet the woman with his flirtatious behavior. She was one of the staff members in the office whom he had grown fond of since she had been working for their company for a long time now. Armaan considered her one of his own kin as she always seemed to understand his emotions. Since fate had snatched away his parents from him at a young age and left him in the world alone to survive with his younger sister, Kripa, Maya was near and dear to him along with Nana Deshpande. Nana had been entrusted with the responsibility of Mallik Industries by his father until Armaan was of age to handle them and back from London when done with his studies. With Armaan securing his MBA from Oxford University's Sad Business School, he was now taking Mallik Fashion House to higher levels in the business world with his exquisite amount of business knowledge.
"How do you think I am doing," asked Maya as she embraced him in a tight hug. "Using your big smile as a weapon, you must be killing everyone who comes to the reception desk…Has no one died yet looking at your killer smile," he chuckled, "You look beautiful like always and fit and fine," he said with a wink.
"Armaan…Tum mere bohot tareef kar rahe ho… Oh come on Armaan… I'm getting old now…How could I still be looking fit and fine," she said, shaking her head at him, with a smile on her face.
"You don't believe me Maya…How can I ever lie to you," he said as he looked at her going back to sit in her chair behind the oval shaped desk.
"Tum kabhi nahi sudhroge," she said laughing as she shook her head. Armaan joined in laughing too. It was true---during those times it looked like nothing would be able to change Armaan's behavior. "Bye Maya…I'll meet you later on in the day," he said winking as he made his way towards the elevator while greeting the staff as he walked.
As he stepped into the isolated elevator, he pushed the button to go to the top floor when he heard a pleasant voice say "STOP the elevator please." Armaan quickly pressed the button, and the elevator doors which were coming together to shut were now being opened.
A young, petite lady wearing a white churidaar suit, holding some files against her chest, quickly stepped into the elevator as she tried catching a hold on her breath. Something about her seemed to have struck him and he was amazed at her simplicity as she wore minimal make-up on her eyes while her long, black silky hair finally settled into place after all the motion it had underwent. She came forward and pressed the button to the floor she wished to go to while Armaan came out of his little session and did the same.
"Thanks for stopping the lift," she said, finally getting a hold on her breath, as she flashed him a friendly smile while the lift began to move upward. Her sweet voice rang throughout the elevator, making Armaan's heart skip a beat.
Armaan smiled back. "No problem"
As she started fixing her dupatta and setting it correctly on her neck, the elevator seemed to stop abruptly as the lights dimmed in the lift.
"Oh God…what happened," she said with a small amount of tension filling her pleasant voice as the lights dimmed and the elevator went completely dark.
"Man what the ---- " he stopped abruptly, not wanting to sound rude. "This had to happen today," he muttered out loud.
Armaan looked towards the lady despite the darkness and was able to make out her face as he stood next to her. The lady had her hands folded together whilst her files stuck to her chest as her arm kept it secure. She shut her eyes and seemed to been chanting some mantra as her bang made its way in front of her shut eyes.
"Hey Bhagwan…mujhe andhere se bohot daar lagta hai…Please save me God…and fix this lift," she muttered as she seemed concentrated in the prayer.
Armaan seemed to be lost looking at her, even despite the darkness, her face was radiating some kind of glow. She was acting so innocent, which seemed to have captivated him and sent him to a different world.
She opened her eyes slowly as her arm went lose against her chest, leading the files to fall on the floor. The files landed on the tiled floor of the elevator with a thud and the sound resonated against the steel walls, making her jump and lose her balance as she stood in high heels.
"Ahhh," she screamed out as she tipped over to the side, coming to the conclusion that she would indefinitely fall on the hard floor, but just then Armaan's hands seemed to have caught her slim body. His arms held her securely from her waist as she quickly clutched on to his shirt while her eyes were shut. Strains of her hair fell on her face, covering the radiance coming from it. With one arm still around her waist, he took his hands and on an impulse pulled back the strains behind her ear as his fingers gently caressed her smooth, milky skin. She slowly opened her eyes to see him staring down at her intensely. Noticing her hand clutched on to his shirt, she let go immediately as Armaan helped her stand up.
"I'm sorry…I seemed to have lost my balance in the dark…I'm kind of scared of the dark," she said, fixing her dupatta and covering her chest with it as he took out his cell phone and touched a button making it light up. "Here, you won't be scared anymore," he said flashing a sympathetic smile at her.
She took in the kind gesture as the small amount of light seemed to have lighten up the lift. "Thanks."
"I would call for help, but there's no signal on my phone," he said, "but don't worry, they should be fixing the technical problem by now seeing that the lift hasn't come down."
As Armaan said that, the lights in the lift brightened and the elevator seemed to jerk upwards. The lady bent down and picked up her files, seeing that the lift was working now.
The lift's door to her floor opened up and she gathered her things in her hand and slowly made her way out. She turned around briefly and flashed him a smile, and then resumed walking in the direction she was heading.
As the elevator doors closed, Armaan registered the beautiful smile she seemed to have given him.
He sat in his office, trying to read some important files regarding a new contract, however his mind was fixated on her beautiful face. What black eyes...her long, silky black hair, her small bang, glowing face, and her wide smile… "Hai," he muttered to himself as he put his hand on the wrinkled area of his shirt and remembered how tightly she clutched onto it. Just then a phone interrupted his thoughts and brought him back to reality.
"Hey Rahul…wat's up?," he said picking up the call, after looking at the screen of his cell phone flashing his name.
"Hey Armaan," he replied back, "Nothing much…you know me and my busy doctor life." Rahul was one of the first friends Armaan had made while studying in Oxford University. They shared an apartment together back in those days and had become more like brothers. While Armaan studied for his MBA, Rahul was studying to become a doctor. "Hey listen I called you to inform you about something…actually my sis---," Rahul tried saying on the phone but was interrupted by Armaan, who saw Ria entering his office.
"Hey Rahul wait for a second," Armaan said, signaling Ria to speak up.
"Sir," said Ria looking towards him, "The interviewee for the position of assistant fashion designer is here…Do you want me to send her in?"
"Yes Ria…Send her in right now… I want to get this priority out of the way," said Armaan.
"Rahul," said Armaan as he went back to the phone, "Let me call you back…I have to interview someone," he said as he abruptly ended the call.
"Armaan listen to me," said Rahul, but by that time Armaan had ended the call. Rahul shook his head and smiled as he went back to work.
She knocked on the door lightly to hear him say "Come in"
As she entered she saw the owner of the company heavily engrossed in reading a file. He held the file in front of his face, blocking her view of the man. She walked slowly towards the seat, while signs of nervousness began to appear on her face. It was her very first interview with the owner of the prestigious Mallik Fashion House—who wouldn't be nervous?
"Hello Sir, my name is Anjali," she said sweetly but rather nervously as she took a seat. Her voice seemed to have rung a bell in his ears as he tried to recollect where he had heard the voice. As he brought the file down, revealing his face, he saw that the girl sitting in front of him was no other than the lady who seemed to have captivated his mind, ever since he got off the elevator. Anjali, on the other hand, was equally surprised to see the young, dashing fellow whom she had met in the elevator as the owner of Mallik Fashion House. How could someone this young be in charge of a huge company like this? She had expected an elderly man to interview her, not this handsome, young man.
"TUM," they both said to each other in unison.
"I think I have come to the wrong cabin," said Anjali as she gathered her things and got up, nervously doubting that this man was the owner of the company. "I think the secretary must have sent me to the wrong cabin… I have to meet Mr. Mallik"
Armaan chuckled at her nervousness while Anjali stared at him rather confusedly, trying to figure out why the man was laughing.
"I'm Armaan," he said getting up from his chair and extending his hand, "Armaan Mallik."
Anjali was glued to her spot and stood motionless. This handsome man was the owner of all of this? "How could it be," she thought in her mind, and brushed off her thoughts as she extended her hand. "Why does it matter…the fact is that you are here for a job Anjali not to form judgments about others…" she thought in her mind while shaking his hand.
Armaan felt a weird sensational feeling go through his body as his hands touched hers. It was a feeling which was hard to put into words. It seemed as if all his bodily functions were speeding up. What was weird to him was that never in his life had he experienced this "weird" feeling, despite all the attention he got in University and all the women he had come across in his life in the Corporate world.
"I'm Anjali…Anjali Grewal," she said as she pulled away her hand, which Armaan didn't want to let go off, but eventually had to.
"Nice to meet you Miss. Anjali," he said as he sat in his leathered chair and signaled her to take a seat also.
"I'm so sorry…actually I got confused and —," she started saying as she was interrupted by his voice.
"Hmm…I bet you were wondering how a handsome man like me is in charge of a big fashion house like this…Am I right," he said cheekily.
Anjali was slightly embarrassed. But of course he was speaking the truth. "Well, to tell you the truth…That's exactly what I was wondering…It seems like a lot of people have gone through the same confusion I have gone through today," she said, as she smiled.
Armaan chuckled slightly. "Well, it's not my fault that you all judge me from my looks, which I know is incredibly handsome, and not from my caliber and talent…You can't judge a person based solely on looks you know…there's always more to it"
Anjali laughed at his wittyness. "You're right…one shouldn't be stereotypical, but I guess one, like me, just gets preconceived motions and expects someone more aged to be in charge of a respectable fashion house like this."
"I understand," he said as he looked directly into her eyes. "So you admit I'm handsome right?" he added in with a twinkle in his eyes.
Anjali was caught dumbfounded. She wasn't expecting him to ask her a question like that. He waited as he looked into her eyes for an answer. She was feeling nervous. "Does he really expect me to answer that question straight-forwardly," she thought in her mind as her fingers were fidgeting with each other as her hands were interlocked in her lap. "He sure seems like a big flirt…but the fact is that he is charming…can't deny that," she concluded in her mind. Armaan could sense the awkwardness she was going through as the signs were visible through her body position and posture.
"Well, I would answer that question for you, but the fact is that I am here for one purpose, which is to attain the position of an assistant fashion designer…not to answer personal questions," she said confidently, trying to avoid the subject.
Armaan smiled on the inside as she handed him her file, which contained her degrees and resum. He looked through the file and closed it shut within two minutes. He was impressed with the vast amount of experience she had gotten in this field. She had been an intern for a huge corporation in the U.S. After the brief question-answer session, Armaan finally broke the news.
"Congratulations Miss. Anjali…you've got the position," he said smilingly as he signed the paper which confirmed that she was appointed for the position and would join duty from tomorrow onwards.
Anjali was ecstatic. "Thank you Sir…Thank you so much," she said with her huge smile creeping up on her face.
"Call me Armaan," he said as she smiled.
"Thank you Armaan," she hesitantly corrected herself as he smiled back at her.
*Flashback Mode Over*
Armaan slowly opened his eyes as he had drifted off to reliving one of the wonderful moments he had spent with her. He remembered each moment so vividly as if it had happened yesterday. Sometimes as he sat till late night in isolation in his office, he would hear faint whispers of her laugh surrounding the room. Armaan was left only with these memories to live off of. As Armaan grabbed the frame of his chest and looked deeply at it, he couldn't control himself as tears started pouring down his face. The fact remained that no matter how cold-blooded and tough he appeared from the outside…On the inside, his wounds were still deep and fresh. Despite the one year, he hadn't recovered from his loss.
I hope you all enjoyed it...Please leave comments if you found it satisfactory--They would encourage me truly!
Upon not hearing a response from Armaan, Ramlila decided that it would be best to stay silent and not talk, for fear of facing his wrath. Ramlila, had been working for Armaan for four years now, and knew that today was a rough day for Armaan as he had gotten a major shock in his life. It would be better to leave him alone on this day with the support of his memories than to engage with him in conversation.
Armaan loosened up his tie and threw it on his bed as he stepped into his room and unbuttoned the first few buttons of his dress shirt while kicking the door shut with his foot. He plopped onto his bed and closed his eyes momentarily as he rested on the backboard of the bed when his phone rang.
"Armaan…what is wrong with you…I have been calling you nonstop in your office, on your cellphone, and even on your house number…why aren't you picking up my calls?...Am I not a part of your life anymore?" Rahul said uncontrollably as he let out his feelings on the phone.
"Aisi baat hi hai...Armaan, do you not consider me a part of your life now since Anjali has past away, Rahul said with a softened tone as he choked on his words, "Was our friendship only to this extent?"
Rahul understood Armaan's situation and realized he had been too harsh on him. "Armaan listen," said Rahul with a softened tone, "I understand that it was hard for you then and it is even now, but that doesn't mean that you hide your feelings from your best friend…That's not what best friends are for…they are their to share each other's happiness and sadness with each other…I can understand the pain you are going through on this day…Even I am undergoing the same…Armaan, you have to remember that Anjali was not only your love and fianc, but she was also my sister…I am coping with the same loss as you," he finished off saying as tears began to run down his face.
Armaan found his voice back again after struggling with himself. "I know Rahul…you are always there for me…I just wanted to be alone on this day," he choked on his words as tears overtook him, "I just wanted to be isolated and rewind time to the past where me and Anjali were happy being together."
"Armaan I understand your emotions…It's hard for me to accept the fact too that it's been a year since my darling sister has been snatched away from us…but I wanted to let you know that I am there for you."
"Armaan we both are floating in the same boat…It's hard for both of us…Armaan, why didn't you join Muskaan and I at the pooja we had today for Anjali's soul to rest in peace…This is the reason I was calling you constantly," said Rahul.
"Rahul, you know that I've stopped believing in God ever since Anjali was snatched away from my life…If God cared about me and Anjali, then he wouldn't have snatched away my love…Life would have been different for the both of us if he hadn't done that…What wrong had Anjali done to attain death at such a young age," he said as anger overtook him.
"Armaan I understand the battle that you are fighting with God…but you know that Anjali would have been happy and at peace if you had attended the pooja…You know that Anjali held extreme faith in God," Rahul finished off.
"Anjali did wrong…What did God give her after all her faith in him…He gave her DEATH Rahul…DEATH!" said Armaan with fury. "I can't believe in such a God now…All my faith in him had been washed away the day Anjali was taken away from me."
"Ok Armaan…As you wish…," said Rahul as he took a sigh, " Armaan as I said already…take it easy…Muskaan and I are always there for you no matter what…and most importantly, Anjali is watching over you…She wouldn't be happy if she saw you in this state… OK?"
"Now you know Muskaan and I are getting married in two days and you have to come…I know you don't attend weddings and all, but Armaan, for my sake…for your best friends sake…please try to attend," said Rahul, "I know Anjali would be happy wherever she is."
Armaan took his phone off his ear as he closed his eyes. One person in the world he couldn't be cold-blooded and rude to was Rahul. Rahul understood Armaan's feelings so easily and without much difficulty or hesitation. Rahul could guess Armaan's feelings by reading his face. Rahul had been his friend since university days…Rahul knew Armaan perfectly, from in and out, and it would be futile being cold towards him. No matter how angry he would be, Rahul would sit there and listen to him continuously ranting off his feelings and he would do the same for Rahul. Armaan didn't even know that Anjali was Rahul's sister who had just came back from Delhi for a job in Mumbai until Rahul had met up with Armaan at a hangout place and informed him that the girl who got the position for the fashion designer assistant was his sister. Rahul was a friend which people got with much difficulty and he was glad that Rahul had come into his life while they studied in London. He knew that Rahul and Muskaan would be there for him always. He was living his life with the support of Rahul, Muskaan, Kripa (who was in the U.S. finishing up her PhD), and with the support of Anjali's memories or else he would've died a long time back.
He opened his eyes to see Ramlila coming in his room with a plate of dinner. He set it down on his sidetable and closed the door as he left, while Armaan got up and took the spoon in his hand. He dipped it into the Dal Chawal, stuffed it into his mouth, and chewed on it as everything in his life started seeming bland these days.
"Oh my God…That is great news! Mom and Dad will surely be happy to hear that! We thought that you would be coming here for a vacation and then would be heading back...I can't believe you kept everything hidden from me and didn't even tell me."
"Muskaan, I got the offer last minute that I didn't have time to inform anyone…It all happened too fast…All I know now is that it sure feels good to be back home," said Riddhima as she felt the late-night time breeze blow past her face as she sat in the car.
He was coming out of the clothing store called "Options" after selecting his wedding outfit with Anjali as their wedding was a week away. Preparations were on in full swing and everyone was getting ready for the most awaited wedding of the year. After all, the most sought-after Business Man was getting married-It was a HUGE deal!
He turned around as fast as he could and ran to the door gathering his bag. A crowd of people stood outside, huddled around something as they screamed for help. A sudden fear took over his body as he saw Anji nowhere in sight. He quickly pushed his way into the crowd, and the sight he saw in front of him shocked him completely.
"ANJALI!" Armaan woke up with a jerk as beads of sweat lined themselves on his forehead. He breathed in and out heavily as he turned on the lamp on his sidetable as fast as he could. He grabbed the glass of water beside his table and gulped it down completely as he sat in bed with his back leaning against the backboard. He wiped the beads of sweat on his forehead as he sighed deeply. This nightmare seemed to present itself frequently ever since Anjali's death. This nightmare still continued to shock the life out of him after her death. It wasn't leaving him alone. It continued to torment his soul. He didn't need a visual reminder to show him how his life was separated from him…HE HAD WITNESSED IT FOR GODS SAKE! WASN'T THAT ENOUGH?!?!?
He got out of bed and went to his mini-bar in the room. He poured himself a drink as he believed it was an outlet to forget this pain and misery, but he very well knew that this nightmare would continue to flash in front of his eyes. He opened the door to the balcony and stepped out into the cool breeze as he drank his drink.
"ANJALI," he yelled out loud as he stared at the stars in the clear night-sky, "WHY DID YOU LEAVE ME ALL ALONE...I COULDN'T LIVE WITHOUT YOU THEN AND STILL CAN'T..." "PLEASE COME BACK ANJALI…COME BACK INTO MY LIFE…I'M A LIFELESS SOUL WITHOUT YOU," he cried out loud as he knelt down on the floor. "Come back Anjali," he said in between sobs, "Come back!"
"HUH?" Riddhima sleepily got up with a jerk as she heard Muskaan's yells. She flung her hand at the clock on her bedside and tried shutting it off, but in the end had to turn around to turn it off. As she glanced at the time on the clock, she stood up with a jerk as her eyes opened wide.
Riddhima had a big day today. She had to meet the owner of a huge business firm and confirm her job offer with him. Waking up late certainly wasn't the best way to start off your day, but Muskaan was to be blamed, according to Riddhima. After Riddhima met with her parents, Shashank and Padma Gupta, upon arriving last night, she retreated to her room where Muskaan kept her awake late night gossiping about certain things and catching up on stuff.
Riddhima got out of the shower wearing a nice, magenta anarkali churidaar suit. She had lived abroad for quite some time, but she never forgot her traditional values and culture. "First impression is your last impression," she said as she looked at herself in the mirror, doing some finishing touches to her face.
Hearing so, Riddhima literally ran towards the elevator when she felt herself collide with a broad man. She fell back and he fell on top of her as they both lost their balance while their papers and files flew in the air.
Riddhima sat in his cabin feeling nervousness take control over her body, as her feet tapped on the floor constantly while her hands seemed to be playing thumb war with each other as they were settled in her lap. The day had definitely not started off good for her. As she sat in his huge, posh cabin with beautiful paintings erected on the walls, waiting for him to enter, she couldn't help but recall what had occurred a few minutes ago as she sighed deeply at her fate.
The broad, muscular man, wearing a black dress shirt with black slacks, collapsed on top of her body. As he looked at her face, a rage of fury began to appear on his face. "WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE? THIS IS AN OFFICE, NOT A PLAYGROUND…YOU AREN'T SUPPOSED TO BE RUNNING AROUND!," he said with a harsh tone as he pulled himself up and collected his files from the floor.
"How rude," said Riddhima as she pulled herself up after collecting her files on the floor. "First off, you bump into ME, Riddhima Gupta, and then instead of giving me a hand and helping me up, you give me a lecture?" she said as she narrowed her eyes at the man while pointing her finger at him. "I very well aware of the fact that this is an office…I am educated…but perhaps you aren't familiar with the fact that you are standing in an office…YOU were the one who bumped into me as you were lost in your own world as your concentration was deep into reading that file of yours…YOU are supposed to read files in your cabin mister and not while walking around acting like you own this fashion house…Because of YOU I am late…" she kept on ranting off as the man stared at her.
The office staff shook their head as they listened to the girl arguing with the man who she shouldn't be arguing with. She was definitely was going to get it today…It would be better if she just zipped her mouth shut right then and there.
"What do you think of yourself…You come into my office and you argue with ME?" said Armaan, as he stepped closer to her while Riddhima got nervous. "You are arguing with Armaan Mallik…Have you gotten any manners?" he said as he stood a few inches away from her.
Riddhima was taken aback and stood glued to her spot. This morning was getting worse by the minute. She wanted to die right then and there. Her head began to spin like a laundry machine does while washing clothes and she felt like she was losing her balance as she held on to the railing at the side. Maybe coming back to Mumbai wasn't the best idea in the world as everything was going bad for her this morning. She cursed herself mentally. "MERI PHOOTI KISMAT!" On the very first day itself, she got into a heated argument with the OWNER of this fashion house. How could things get any worse now. This was undoubtedly the worst thing that could ever happen to anyone. 'Kiss goodbye your dreams of working in Mallik Fashion House,' Riddhima's brain was working overtime.
Feeling an awkward silence with everyone's eyes glued to them, making her all the more jittery on the inside, she looked up into his blue eyes which were expecting an answer. She took a gulp as she braced herself. "I'm so sorry Mr. Mallik…I didn't mean to argue with you like that…actually the thing is that I had an appointment with you and I was getting late…and hence all this…I am extremely sorry once again…Don't take my words to heart and I hope you can forgive me…" she said in one breath, bowing her head down with shame at the end.
Riddhima bit her lower lip, not knowing what to expect from Mr. Armaan Mallik after that disastrous encounter. Was he going to yell at her in private? If so, she would rather run away from here before he even got the chance to do so…He obviously wouldn't give her the position after the spectacle she created at the lobby. Should she even expect to get this job from him? Should she just get up and leave before she made another fool out of herself? Hundreds of thoughts overflowed her mind when she heard the door creak open. She closed her eyes and silently prayed. "Hey Bhagwan mujhe shakti dena ke me is Armaan Mallik ka samna kar sakoon."
She opened her eyes to see Armaan sitting in front of her, behind his desk. She held on to her files as tight as she could as Armaan stared at her intensely with those blue-colored eyes of his without saying a word. His burning gaze was fixated on her.
She just nodded her head, a feeling of guilt and shame overtaking her judgment of responding to his statement. It was as if a zipper was put in place of her mouth as she sat there unable to say anything. He flipped through the papers in the file.
Nana had been on a trip in New York where he attended a fashion show in which Riddhima had designed some of the clothes. He instantly offered her a job to work in 'Mallik' after seeing her broad range of skills and had informed Armaan about it also. Armaan took heed to Nana's advice and told him he would personally meet her before giving her the job.
Riddhima sat there waiting impatiently as he looked through her papers. Would her degrees, knowledge, and experience come to her rescue today and melt this man's heart…or would expecting this job be futile…Only time would tell…
Riddhima smiled after she took a sigh of relief. He didn't even ask her any questions. It seemed as if her resume and degrees did all the work for her. Feeling it was the best moment to apologize, she found courage to speak up, "Mr. Mallik, I just want to apologize again for whatever happ—"
"Miss. Riddhima, let's get one thing straight…You are now an employee of this fashion house and I expect you to behave professionally from now onwards…Let's avoid discussing whatever took place a while ago…Let bygones be bygones…I do not wish to speak about it…You are here to work and that is what I expect out of you…Got it?" he said in a firm tone, devoid of any emotions.
"Muskaan…I don't know where to begin…Let's just say that my day couldn't have gotten any worse," she said as Muskaan and she were sitting at a Chinese cuisine called 'Masala Wok', eating their chow-mein noodles while the melodious music playing in the background made the ambiance of the restaurant even more cozier.
"Yeah…At the end of the worse day of my life, I still ended up getting the job…I guess God felt pity on me…I had to endure a lot…and my boss…let's not even get started on him…" she said, making an irritated face.
"Well…he is handsome and charming…You have to admit once you see him…but Oh my God, he is so khadoos and nakchida…He looks all nice and sweet from the outside and by his appearance…You know like the type who would make you laugh…but it turns out to be the exact opposite…Who ever said looks could be deceiving was right after all…" she said as she sucked on a piece of noodle.
He took out his wallet from his pocket and opened it, turning his attention to the picture displayed in it, as he continued walking. It was a picture of him and Anjali when they were together. It was a Kodak moment picture. Armaan sat with Anjali on his lap in the small cubicle of the photo-booth where he gave her a surprise kiss right on the cheek when the picture snapped. Anjali's mouth was wide-open as Armaan had a mischievous grin on his face as he kissed her on the cheek. He still vaguely remembers how much he irritated Anjali due to his naughtyness and childish behavior, but in the end of it all she loved it; She loved his childish habits. How he missed these moments…Now the best he could do to relive these moments was to reminisce about them and wander back down memory lane. Nothing would ever replace these wonderful memories no matter how hard everyone tried. They were the only cherishing thing he had in his life. These memories would teach him to live eventually.
He was sick and tired of everyone trying to persuade him to move on in life. 'You can't live with this sorrow all your life Armaan' they would all say to him. It was hard to live with this sorrow, but he knew that he would somehow have to manage with it. He believed no one would ever touch his heart the way Anjali had. Anjali was the sole conqueror of his heart, according to him, and no one would ever be able to change that fact. Rahul and Muskaan, along with his own sister, had tried to persuade Armaan to get married, however, Armaan was and is adamant. He would not budge from his decision. Many times he had decided upon killing himself, but he had to live for his sister and for her happiness. Armaan was all Kripa had and Kripa was all that Armaan had too.
"Hmmm…I knew I would find you here," said Rahul as Armaan turned around hearing his voice. Armaan gave a weak smile. The beach was Armaan's destination whenever he would feel lonely. The cool breeze flowing on Armaan's face always seemed to give him some sort of comfort as he drowned himself in thoughts of Anjali. Armaan and Anjali had spent many of their days on the beach also and he felt more close to Anjali whenever he would come here. Anjali loved beaches.
"Armaan," said Rahul with a soft tone as he pulled himself out of the hug after a while, "I'm really happy that my sister chose you as a life partner…She could never receive as much love from anyone else as she did from you…" He choked on his words as they got to him. "Despite the fact that she isn't with us anymore, you still love her unconditionally…Armaan…I'm glad that you came in my sister's life and made it all the more beautiful for her…I couldn't have asked God for a much better companion for my sister as you…" Rahul finished off saying as he patted Armaan's shoulder.
"But Armaan…you can't live your whole life like this… I value the love you hold for my sister…No one will ever be able to snatch away the love you hold for her…but Armaan, it's high time that you start thinking about yourself…You can't drown yourself in Anjali's memories and expect to get through your life living like that…even Anjali wouldn't wish for you to live like that," he took a pause, " Armaan…I hope you are trying to understand what I am telling you…I want you to move on in life…not only me, but Anjali does aswell…Remember what I had told you before…Anjali had always been scared of loosing you from her life and she made me promise her that if something would happen to her in life, then she would want to see you happily married."
Armaan digested all that Rahul had spoken out loud with a lost look. He had been reminded of Anjali's wish plenty of times by Rahul. Rahul had informed him about her wish after her death. It was like Anjali knew that something bad was going to happen to her and she had confided in Rahul about her fears.
"Armaan…" spoke Rahul as he moved his hand through his hair in exasperation, "Listen…Anjali is watching you from up there…She obviously wouldn't be happy seeing you completely broken down like this…This one wish she told me a few days before her death…I didn't pay much heed to it at that time because I was in denial with anything bad ever happening to my sister…I guess Anjali felt that something like this was going to happen to her…She felt like she was getting too much happiness in her life…much more than she would ever imagine receiving from life…She never had expected someone to love her as much as you did….Armaan, you need to complete this one wish of Anjali's…we all want to see you move on in life Armaan."
"Rahul…I can never fall in love with anyone other than Anjali…Why should I get married and ruin someone else's life…I can't Rahul…I just can't…Getting married won't make a difference, I will just make someone else's life hell since I wouldn't be able to love them…She would just be a wife for name…," said Armaan looking directly into his eyes. "I can't fulfill this one wish of Anjali's…I'm happy living my life with her memories as they are the only things I have of her left in life…"
Rahul sighed exasperatedly. Anjali had casted such a spell on him which would be hard to remove. "I am sorry behna," said Rahul, looking up in the sky. He thought in his mind as he crossed his arms on his chest, 'Maybe one day true love will again come knocking on Armaan's door Anjali and will teach him to live life again…Lets just hope he recognizes his love when she does come'
P.S- Can you please list in your comment if you would like a PM for each update, so then I know who all to PM and can add you on my PM list…Since I have two FF's, it gets kind of crazy at times…It would be helpful if you list whether or not you want a PM!
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Riddhima entered Armaan's office nervously after receiving the green signal from him. She stood in front of his desk, dressed in a long blue kurta top with skinny jeans on.
"What do you need," he said as he was busy typing away on his laptop, trying to ignore her presence in the room.
"Sir…actually I was wondering whether I could leave early today," she hesitated to say as she looked towards him, unsure of his reaction.
Armaan looked up from his laptop and directed his face towards her.
"Wait…I don't think I heard you correctly…say that again," he said with expressions that were hard to unmask.
His expressions intimidated her and by the looks of it this wasn't looking too positive. "Sir," she took a pause as nervousness took control of her body, "I wanted to know if I could leave early today since I have a family function to attend."
"Wait a minute…This is your first day here and you already want a leave?" he said, raising his eyebrows while narrowing his eyes at her as he realized what she had asked for.
"Sir, believe me…If this function wasn't that important, then I wouldn't have gone." She silently prayed that he would agree to her leaving office early, but after yesterday's incident, she knew it was close to impossible for that to actually happen.
"Did you finish your work," asked Armaan in a firm tone, looking directly at her while a ray of hope shined on Riddhima's face.
"I'm almost done with it…I've already checked the samples of cloth we have gotten, made an inventory of it, and I'm working on finishing up the some of the designs for our next collection," she said all in one breath. She had been working nonstop since morning and she hoped deep inside that her boss would melt upon seeing all her hard work.
"Work comes first…Finish it up and then you may leave," he said, turning his attention away from Riddhima and back on his laptop.
'Hmmm…Maybe khadoos boss isn't as bad as it seems…Maybe I just need to give him time,' thought Riddhima with a faint smile on her face as she exited the room.
The clock now struck four. Riddhima sat in her cabin, finishing up the last of work Armaan had sent her. She would've have been done two hours ago, but Armaan sent her more files to look over in preparation for this new 'Bridal' collection. It was like he purposely sent her more work, so she wouldn't be able to leave. "Such a khadoos man…I wonder what his problem is…He appears to be something else, but ends up being something else…I keep on changing my opinion about him...He's to difficult to understand…" muttered Riddhima to herself as she got up from her chair and left her cabin, heading home for the wedding.
Muskaan and Rahul took the rounds around the sacred fire as they vowed to stay together for lifetime. Muskaan was wearing the traditional red lengha and was adorned with gold jewelry and bangles. Everyone was throwing flower petals at them as they made their way around the fire.
As the wedding rituals were over, Riddhima, who was dressed in a heavy gold and green lengha, led the way for the newly-wed to sit on the wedding sofa. Many guests came to interact with the couple, congratulate them, and sought to take pictures with the newly-weds while Padma and Shashank were going around expressing their hospitality.
Everyone was in a merry and joyous mood. Many guests were dancing to the beats the DJ was playing when Armaan entered the venue, dressed in a white dress shirt striped with light pink lines vertically and black slacks, carrying a bouquet of assorted flowers.
"Congratulations Rahul and Muskaan," said Armaan, handing Muskaan the bouquet as he gave Rahul a hug.
"Thanks Man," said Rahul while in the hug.
"Congrats Muskaan." Armaan hugged Muskaan smilingly. "You look beautiful Muskaan," said Armaan as he pulled out of the hug.
"Thanks Armaan," she said as she smiled at him.
"Armaan…yeh meethe meethe bathe karna band karo…I know you are trying woo the both of us and trying to change the topic…," said Rahul while shaking his head at him, "Yeh bata keh tu late kyun aaya?"
"Haan Armaan…tu late kyun aaya?" repeated Muskaan, as she waited for an answer.
"Kya yaar…Office mein zaara sa kaam reh gaya tha…I was finishing it up," said Armaan. Armaan could never be cold and mean to the closest people in his life. Even if he was cold to them ever, it was on an impulse and he didn't really mean it and they very well knew that fact. Today was an important day of their lives and he wanted to spread the joy.
"Excuses…excuses Armaan," coughed Rahul.
"God Rahul…I was in the office finishing up work…We're working on our new collection so things are kind of hectic right now…hamesha mujh pe fingers point karta rehta hai," smirked Armaan and then chuckled slightly.
Rahul chuckled slightly. "Armaan, I know you don't like attending weddings and these functions and all, but yaar thanks a lot for coming…It really means a lot," said Rahul with a soft tone, looking towards him. "Anjali would be really happy."
Armaan smiled weakly. "Of course I was going to come…After all it's my best friends wedding."
"Thanks Armaan," said Muskaan.
"Anything for the two closest people in my life," said Armaan, putting his hand on Muskaan's cheek affectionately.
"You would do anything for us right?" asked Rahul while raising his eyebrows at him, taking action with the chance he got.
"YYeaah," said Armaan, unable to comprehend what Rahul was about to say.
"Armaan then please consent to getting married…Think of it as a wedding gift in return…We all want to see our old Armaan back," said Rahul while putting his hand on Armaan's shoulder.
"Rahul…This is one wish of Anjali's which I can't fulfill…We went over this yesterday…," said Armaan slightly irritated while taking a pause, " Rahul…I know you both really want to see me happy in life…but Rahul, I can't…I'm sorry….I'm not ready."
Rahul sighed. "Armaan…I hope that day soon comes when you are ready for marriage once again."
"Anyways, let's stop bothering about me," said Armaan, changing the topic, "Today is your wedding…Be happy."
Armaan excused himself to go get a glass of water from the waiter after chatting with them quite a bit.
"Ahh man," yelled Armaan as someone accidently spilled water on his shirt. He immediately looked down, without noticing who flung the water at him, and saw a blotch of wetness on his white shirt.
"I'm so sorry!" said a sweet voice with an apologetic tone. "Here, let me clean that for you…I'm so sorry," she said as she got the napkin in her hand and started wiping the wetness present on his shirt.
He looked up and saw the girl cleaning up his shirt with the napkin. The girl looked up after a bit after her napkin got soaked completely.
"Riddhima…Tum," said Armaan, surprised to see Riddhima at the function.
"Sssiir aap?" said Riddhima, stuttering as she was the one who accidently flung the water at him. Nervousness took control of her body as her hands began to shake. She didn't want to face his wrath at her sister's wedding in front of everyone.
"Hmm…looks like both of you have met before," said Muskaan as she approached them along with Rahul as they both saw the whole scene happen in front of them.
"Armaan, meet my sister Riddhima. She came from the U.S. a couple of days ago for my wedding and to attain a job here," said Muskaan, holding Riddhima by the shoulders as Riddhima tried to compose herself.
Armaan looked taken aback. He was surprised to know that Riddhima was Muskaan's sister. 'Riddhima Gupta…I should have known that she was Muskaan's sister…Gupta…Why didn't I think of that' he thought in his mind.
"Muskaan, he's my boss," said Riddhima as she bit her lip.
"Really?," said Muskaan and Rahul both astounded, looking at her face. Riddhima had never told them where she was working or under whom she was working. It had only been a day after all.
"Yeah guys, Riddhima works in my office," said Armaan as he held the wet portion of his shirt away from his skin, after looking at their surprised faces.
"Riddhima…I can't believe you didn't tell me Armaan was your boss…Well anyways, Riddhima…Armaan is one of our close friends," Muskaan said.
"Sorry Muskaan…I never found time to tell you…remember I was busy settling in life back in Mumbai and then your wedding stuff…It was all hectic…" said Riddhima. 'This khadoos man is my sister and my jiju's close friend…OMG, I told Muskaan that he was khadoos as well…I hope she doesn't tell him that…I would be fired…DAMN' thought Riddhima in her mind.
"Riddhima…take Armaan upstairs and iron his shirt for him," said Muskaan as she noticed Armaan holding the wet part of his shirt.
"It's fine Muskaan…Leave it."
"No, Armaan…Riddhima lead him up," said Muskaan.
Armaan patiently followed her upstairs to her room as he had been forced to by Muskaan. He entered her room as she opened the door. She took the ironing board out as he observed her vibrant room which was decorated very elegantly with lots of stuffed bears at each corner of the room. He stopped admiring her room as her voice rang through the room.
"Umm…sir…could I get your shirt?" said Riddhima very awkwardly as she looked towards him. 'I can't believe I'm standing here and asking for my boss to take his shirt off…I just had to fling my water on my BOSS out of all people, right?' she thought in her mind as a unexplainable feeling roamed through her body, giving her the chills.
"Umm...yeah," he said as he unbuttoned his buttons and took the shirt off his muscular body while Riddhima turned back around toward the ironing table after handing him a towel to wipe his skin. He couldn't just refuse to get his shirt ironed now—Muskaan and Rahul would get mad if he came back down with that wet patch still present on his shirt.
He handed her the shirt and she started ironing the wet patch in silence as the situation was really awkward. Here she was ironing her strict boss's shirt while he was standing half-naked in her room. How ironic…
Armaan felt a weird vibe go through his body also as he wiped his chest with the towel. It would be quite an absurd situation for anyone. In the office, he was all strict and everything, but at the moment he was standing in his close friend's sister's room, who is an employee, with his shirt off while she irons his shirt.
Riddhima put the iron on the board and was flipping the shirt to the other side when suddenly the lights went out. Riddhima screamed lightly as she was scared of the dark, and ran into Armaan's arms. She clutched onto his skin tightly as she closed her eyes while Armaan was taken aback with the sudden move. Her body lay against his well-defined chest and abs while her head lay on his shoulder, her eyes closed. A tingly feeling crept up Armaan's spine while his heartbeats went erratic. He had never had a close encounter with a girl like this after Anjali. He was lost in thoughts when the light flicked back on. He wasn't sure if he was enjoying the moment or was it just something else. Something was bugging him now deep within and he couldn't pinpoint what that feeling exactly was.
"Riddhima…" he said gently as he pulled her hands down from his shoulders, "The lights are back on."
Riddhima opened her eyes and realized what she had just did. She backed away and avoided looking directly at him and quickly turned around and finished ironing the shirt. 'OMG I can't believe I just did that.'
She gave him his shirt back and stole a glance at his face.
"Thanks," he said uneasily as he grabbed his shirt whilst his fingers brushed against her hands, sending a shiver down their spines.
"Umm…could you tell me where the washroom is," Armaan said while holding on to his shirt.
She directed him to the other door in her room.
In the washroom, Armaan stood before the mirror and looked back at his shoulders to see the red patches of skin due to Riddhima's tight clutching. Why was a weird feeling buzzing in him…He stood in front of the mirror, confused at his own thoughts as he put his shirt on and closed his buttons.
On the other side, Riddhima couldn't believe what had happened. 'He's your boss for God's sake…What would he be thinking about you…He already hates you for that incident which happened on the first day and this has officially been added on his "Why I hate Riddhima Gupta' list…Why do you make such a fool out of yourself Riddhima…Why?!?'
When he came out of the washroom, Riddhima stood in front of her dressing table mirror trying to tie the dori of her top. He looked at her struggling to tie her dori as she sighed a couple of times in between. Her long, black hair fell to one side of her face and she kept on blowing it to avoid it coming in front of her eyes. Riddhima was completely struggling to tie the string and she failed to notice Armaan staring at her. Armaan came behind her and she saw his reflection in the mirror. He slowly crept his fingers on her bare back…It felt like a bug crawling up her back. His fingers reached for the string and she could feel her heart race for a reason unknown to her. She breathed irregularly as he tied the string. He moved back once it was done and she moved her hair back.
"Thanks Sir," she managed to say as she turned around. However, Armaan had left the room by then.
She came downstairs, but she saw Armaan saying 'good-bye' to Rahul and Muskaan and then he left.
Okay, so I know it is not the best part ever….but I'm slowly building up the attraction between Armaan and Riddhima…this was just the beginning…I hope you all found it satisfactory at least…Please leave comments and make me happy if you did! = D
Armaan sat in his office spinning his paperweight as he was lost in thoughts. Why had he acted the way he did last night in Riddhima's room? Why was he feeling weird after the hug they both shared? Why did he bother to tie the string of Riddhima's top? What was with him if she was having trouble tying the string herself? Armaan had never come close to a girl as he had with Riddhima after Anjali had departed from his life. What had pulled him into coming so close with Riddhima? It was natural for Armaan to be feeling all confused as he was right now. His thoughts weren't willing to leave him alone. He really wished to find an outlet for all these questions that continued to roam around in his mind since last night and wanted to put an end to this.
And now since he found out that his assistant fashion designer was Muskaan's sister, the situation was made all the more awkward for both of them, as if things weren't better enough from day 1. Riddhima and Armaan had both started off on a bad start as professionals and yesterday night's incident seemed to present itself as an obstacle to their professionalism. More over, he had been cold with RIDDHIMA, Muskaan's sister. Muskaan, who is a close buddy of his. He was sure that Riddhima already had snitched to Muskaan about him being rude. But Armaan had no choice. Armaan was cold to everyone by nature and Muskaan very well knew that fact since she was aware of his past. Armaan would have to treat everyone the same way in his fashion house no matter what and Riddhima wouldn't be an exception just cause she was Muskaan's sister.
Armaan sighed as he stopped spinning the paperweight and set it down. Armaan would just have to put all these mind-boggling questions aside if he really wished to concentrate on work. They would have to conduct themselves in a professional manner and he would just have to put aside the 'close encounter' he had with Riddhima last night far back into his mind. It wasn't of any importance anyway…God knows why it was bothering him so much…
*TRING TRING* His office phone rang.
"Ok Ria, I'll be down there in a moment," he said putting the phone down and heading towards the conference room.
Armaan sat down at the end of the long table in his leathered chair as he looked at Riddhima at the other end of the table presenting her designs for their next wedding collection on the projector, which was connected to a laptop. She seemed so confident of her designs and she very well knew what she was talking about. Armaan noticed that she definitely had managed to impress the head designer along with Nana Deshpande who were sitting in their respective chairs.
"On this sari," she said confidently as she pointed at the sari on the projector screen, "I kept the color maroonish in mind with the fact that it is a wedding collection, but I also added a touch of an off white complement for the beadwork on the delicate piece of georgette…I wanted a very subtle color which would complement the dark, and off-white seemed best to me."
"Any questions" she said as she turned to face the three people present in the conference room.
Nana Deshpande and the head designer stood up and clapped for Riddhima. "Well done Riddhima," said Nana as he clapped his hands for her while Armaan looked on amusingly.
"Thank you," said Riddhima with a huge smile on her face in response to both of their compliments.
"The designs were beautiful…You did full justice to the designs…," said the head designer, Ritu, "Now, the tough part begins…we need to start getting the designs stitched."
"Yes," said Riddhima, "I will get to that right away."
"Good…I know you will bring out the best… I have to head out early today, but I expect you to get started on them…"
"Yes Ritu…I will get started on them right away…Don't worry," said Riddhima assuringly as Ritu made her way out the room.
"Good job once again," said Nana as he patted Riddhima's shoulder, "I know you would shine here at Mallik fashion house," he said making his way to leave as Riddhima flashed a smile.
Now, the only people left in the conference room were Armaan and Riddhima. Armaan observed the whole conversation between Riddhima, Ritu, and Nana as he sat in his chair, but not once did he say anything. Riddhima glanced at Armaan for a second and found him looking at her with a straight face as he leaned back on the cushion of the chair and twirled with the pencil in between his fingers.
Riddhima got nervous all over again and she quickly fumbled and made her way towards the laptop and shut off the programs opened, avoiding his gaze. She gathered her files and put them on the cart where the laptop rested in attempt to go back to her office as soon as possible. Whenever she saw Armaan, her nerves would be working themselves out constantly and she wanted to run away from the situation each time. But Riddhima knew she would have to try to live with this fact since she was working in his fashion house. It would be impossible to avoid him. Yesterday night's incident only increased her nervousness rather than decrease it. 'You can't trust him' she thought in her mind, 'Na jaane kab kaunse mood mein ho," she shook her head and pushed the cart to the door as fast as she could.
She just opened the door and was about to push the cart out the door when Armaan spoke up, freezing her to her spot.
"Well done Riddhima," he said with a firm face as Riddhima was shocked upon hearing a compliment coming from this 'khadoos' man, and stayed glued to her spot, her feet unable to move.
He left the room as Riddhima stood there, absorbing the words he had just said to her. 'Sweet, encouraging words coming from him?!? I must be dreaming' she thought as she shook her head.
Riddhima stood in the design department working, while her hair was pulled back into a bun with the support of a pencil. She had a legal pad in her hand and she was checking their inventory of fabric to be used for the designs. Riddhima was wearing a white tank with a fitting black- professional blazer over it with black slacks.
She checked the long rolls of fabric, making sure each of the fabrics were on the list and making sure nothing was wrong with them either. Others in the design department were busy analyzing the designs to stitch. There was a lot going on in the design department and everyone was running around to get work done. It was getting hectic.
Armaan entered the huge department just to check what was going on. This next collection of theirs was very important and needed to be a success in order for them to gain more profit.
Riddhima, with the help of another worker, unrolled some of the maroon silk fabric as Armaan watched on. Armaan stared at her intensely, without knowing why his eyes were glued to her. It was as if she had casted some spell on him for he was unable to direct his gaze elsewhere. The more Armaan tried to resist looking at her, the more he was drawn upon her. The way strands of her hair fell on her face, as it detached itself from the loose bun; the way she looked so determined and focused in her work; the way her green eyes were able to express her emotions; the way her eyebrows rose up as she was heavily engrossed in work…Despite himself, he wasn't able to look away. Memories of Anjali flooded his mind as he gazed intently at her. Why was this girl reminding him so much of Anjali? It was as if her each gesture was connected to Anjali…Armaan closed his eyes briefly as he recollected a precious moment with Anji.
It was raining like cats and dogs outside. The winds were blowing fiercely as the monsoon season was hitting Mumbai as badly as it did every year. No stars were visible in the night sky, only the dark clouds were settled against each other as the rain showered its magic on the city of Mumbai.
Armaan stepped out of the office and made his way to the car after instructing the security guard to lock the office up.
He pressed the unlock button on his car remote and sat on the driver's seat as he loosened his tie and took a sigh of relief. It had been a long day at the office…Meetings after meetings with the representatives of a huge textile company as Armaan was trying to crack a deal with them. If it weren't for Anjali by his side, he seriously didn't know what he would have done. She seemed to have handled the situation so gracefully and effectively that they were able to attain the contract.
He shook his head and smiled whole-heartedly to himself as he remembered hugging Anjali that day on an impulse as they won the contract.
He started the car and ran his hand through his wet hair as he started praising Anjali once again in his mind. Somehow, these days, Anjali kept on making her way to his thoughts…and it had come to the point where she was even visiting his dreams, making Armaan all the more restless…Armaan wasn't that dumb and nave to not figure out that the love bug had bitten him…Anjali had that charm to her…She was able to make anything or anyone fall in love with her presence and personality…Even the office staff considered her as their own family. In a small amount of time, she was able to make a spot for herself in everyone's heart…even Armaan's….
Armaan stopped his car abruptly as he observed a familiar frame walking in the rains so freely, as if welcoming them. Upon closer inspection, he was puzzled more than shocked to see Anjali, completely soaked from top to bottom, enjoying the rain as a smile was plastered on her face.
On an impulse, Armaan got out of the car, without giving a care if he got wet or no. What mattered to him was for Anjali not to fall ill as the cool breeze combined with the rain might make anyone a prey to an illness.
"Anjali, what are you doing…are you crazy?" he asked upon catching up to her, "It's raining so badly…Come in the car, I'll drop you home…"
She flashed her trademark smile and reassured him with her eyes, "Armaan….It feels so good to get soaked in the rain..Don't you just love this weather?" Armaan stared at her admiringly as she opened her arms, like a little kid, wanting to make the most out of this weather. A small smile crept on his lips as he saw Anjali spinning round, capturing the essence of the rain as if it was never to come again. Raindrops landed on her face, and traveled all the way down to her lips. A hidden desire began to flutter inside Armaan's body as he observed the drops trailing down her smooth, milky skin. How badly he wanted to caress his fingers on her skin and capture his lips with hers, just as the drops were….Her behavior was tempting him to grab her in his arms and make her his forever.
As Anjali spun around, her hair hit Armaan's face, instigating his desires even further. He brought his hand up to his face as if to relive the touch of her hair on his face once again.
The sound of snapping of fingers brought him back into the real world from his fantasy world.
"Kya hua Armaan…Did the rain cast its magic on you?" she said rather teasingly as she stood before him. "I told you! Baarish mein ek alag sa naasha hota hai" She inhaled deeply as if wanting to capture the fragrance of the rainy night.
Armaan was completely mesmerized by this girl as they both stood there, getting drenched completely. He was witnessing another shade to her character in the rain. He couldn't control his inner desires any further…The temptation was just rising within, and it was time to let his feelings out…
And then it happened…The rain indeed spread some magic that day on these two individuals as they confessed their inner most feelings….
Armaaan grabbed Anjali from her shoulders and pulled her to himself, unable to control the temptations building up deep inside of him. Anjali jerked by the sudden move and stared intensely into Armaan's eyes as he pulled her in close proximity to himself.
Wet strands of her hair made their way on her face, as she breathed heavily due to nervousness. Armaan transfixed his gaze on her and gently trailed his fingers on her face as Anjali started trembling from the sudden contact. His one touch was doing wonders to her as his fingers moved the strands behind her ear.
"Anjali," he spoke gently as he cupped her face in his hand. " Is baraash se zyaada, tumne mujh pe ek alag sa naasha kiya hai…You've intoxicated me with your presence…Everywhere I go, I see you…The matter has come to such a point that you've come into my dreams…I've fallen in love with your eyes..They have casted such a spell on me…It's hard to come out of that spell now.." He paused as he looked at Anjali for a brief moment, who was melting with his words.
"I've fallen head over heels for you…Every aspect of yours, I've fallen in love with… The way you blow away the hair that lands on your face when you work...and then getting irritated by the consistency of it, you end up tying your hair…the way you search for the pen you write with," he chuckled slightly as he continued, " only to find that the pen is sticking in your hair…the way happiness spreads all over your face when a task gets completed…the cute expressions you make when you're deeply involved in work…the way—"
"Stop!" interrupted Anjali as her eyes were brimming with tears, "You've noticed every little thing about me?" She was touched deep inside that someone paid that much attention to every small detail of hers. " I would never anticipate someone intently observing every single detail of mine…" She choked with emotions as she brought her hand to her mouth, " I can't believe you did…"
"If you want I can go on and on and on…" replied Armaan back with a cheeky smile on his face.
"You are crazy Armaan…but I love you," said Anjali tearfully as Armaan embraced her just that second while the rain showered itself on the two lovers.
*Flashback Mode Over*
He opened his eyes and it pained him to not see Anji before him, but Riddhima…How he wished to relive these priceless moments again with her…He sighed deeply as he put these memories behind himself and walked too see the work being done in the department.
In the meanwhile, Riddhima was struggling with unrolling the cloth. She unrolled about 10 yards of the cloth, draining her energy out. Loosing her balance while holding onto the cloth, she tripped, all thanks to her 3 1/2 inch heels, and coincidentally as if it was fate, she grabbed her balance on Armaan by tugging on his shirt as he was walking by.
"Ahh," she yelled as her lean frame fell on his muscular frame and both dropped to the floor and rolled as the cloth tangled itself around them.
They stopped rolling as Riddhima's head banged on the corner of a desk and she dropped down on Armaan's chest as he laid on the floor. "Ouch," she cried as she put her hand on the side her forehead, dropping her frame down on his body.
That weird feeling aroused in Armaan's body again as he had another close encounter with Riddhima again…A chill slithered down his spine as Riddhima's body was supported against his. Riddhima's head leaned against his shoulder as Armaan's hands were around her waist. The millions of questions that Armaan was evading that morning were coming back to irritate him even more as if he wasn't troubled already…
On the other hand, Riddhima cried with the pain she was feeling on her head. Her head had banged hard on the corner of the desk and the pain was becoming unbearable. And she closed her eyes, regretting the fact that she fell on her boss. 'First this pain on my head…and now another thing added to my Boss's "Why I Hate Riddhima Gupta" list" she thought in her mind. She raised her body up with the support of both her hands and gazed down to Armaan's eyes and found him looking as intently at her as she was at him.
'What invisible force is drawing me to her…Why can't I take my eyes off her' thought Armaan in his mind as he gazed into her deep green eyes, outlined with Kohl.
Riddhima's heart raced as she caught her boss looking at her with those eyes…She felt all jittery inside and nervousness was building up inside her… 'What is happening to me…Why am I getting that weird feeling inside of me…like I am getting attracted to my boss…What is happening to me' Riddhima thought in her mind. As these questions weren't bothering her enough, Armaan's hand's went up on an impulse, and grabbed the pencil out of her bun, letting her hair fall freely.
The staff in the department looked on curiously at the two…as they all viewed a jhalak of the old Armaan in him.
Armaan looked at her hair flowing freely past her shoulders and was in a constant battle with his mind and heart as to why he let her hair loose. He looked at Riddhima and instead of seeing her face, he imagined seeing Anjali's face in place of hers.
Riddhima jerked back down as Armaan let her hair free, with shock, and her hair spread across Armaan's face.
Armaan smiled unconsciously as he imagined Anji before him and gently sniffed the fragrance of her hair…It gave him peace to know it was that lavender smell as always…he inhaled deeply as he moved her hair off from his shoulder and behind her ear.
"Keep your hair open as always," he stated as Riddhima supported herself once again, " I love it open…"
A puzzled expression formed on Riddhima's face as she tried to comprehend the meaning of his words.
"Sir, are you okay," Riddhima said getting off him, snapping her fingers in front of his face, bringing him back to the REAL world, where Anji was a spirit and no longer a human being.
"Huh…" said Armaan as Riddhima helped him up.
'Hmmm…This is weird and ironic' thought Riddhima in her mind, ' I'm the one who got hurt and is in pain but I feel that my boss needs medical attention more than I do….'
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